back to article Trump attacks and appeals 'fundamentally misconceived' Twitter block decision

Donald Trump should be allowed to block people from his Twitter feed because it is not an official government account, the president’s lawyers have re-argued in a legal appeal. The lawyers are asking that a decision by a subset of the Second Circuit be reviewed by the entire court. Their core argument remains that the @ …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Personal brand

    If he ever does leave office, @theRealDonaldTrump is going to be very valuable property as an influencer.

    Possibly the only profitable business venture he will have been involved with

    1. Blake St. Claire

      Re: Personal brand

      I'm sure the only guy who ever managed to lose money running a casino will somehow manage to not monetize his @realDonaldTrump twitter account.

      With any luck it be because he'll be in jail and not allowed to have a phone or computer to tweet from.

      1. joeW Silver badge

        Re: Personal brand

        I imagine a person could make a lot of money by running a loss-making casino.

        Not legally, of course.

        1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Personal brand

          The Producers

          Springtime for Hitler anyone?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Personal brand

        "I'm sure the only guy who ever managed to lose money running a casino"

        In all fairness to Trump he could make money on casinos (and reportedly made a lot on Trump Plaza and Trump Marina), but the acquisition of the partially completed Taj Mahal was a disaster and required significant debt to finance its opening - debt that was unlikely to be serviceable given growth in the casino sector in Atlantic City.

        While there are a number of issues with how he run the casinos (not paying contractors during construction of the Taj Mahal, reducing staff benefits and regulatory issues around accounting for income to try and meet debt obligations) they all come down to not being able to service the debt on the Taj Mahal. Then a recession came along in the early 90's and meant the debt was no longer serviceable.

        Maybe the real lesson is that if you make a bad decision, spread the losses to maximise suffering and keep on doubling down so that when it all goes wrong, everyone suffers?

      3. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Personal brand

        Trump didn't lose money from his casinos, he personally came out of it ok. It was everyone else involved who came off worse.

        When his businesses fail he makes sure the debts and blame go somewhere else, but when they succeed it's all him.

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Personal brand

          Trump's dad took the loss, I believe.

  2. jmch Silver badge

    Nothing new, then

    "The president’s legal argument is inconsistent, illogical, clearly flawed and basically amounts to shouting “but I don’t want to be told what to do.” "

    He has the psyche of a spoilt 10-year old bully, what else do you expect?

    1. Robert Moore
      Mushroom

      Re: Nothing new, then

      He has the psyche of a spoilt 10-year old bully, what else do you expect?"

      If only he was as smart as a spoilt 10-year old bully.

      1. BGatez Bronze badge

        Re: Nothing new, then

        Now you have Boris, Gary Busey's more harmful brother

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Nothing new, then

          That is an insult to Mr Busey. He's positively dapper compared to our feuhrer

    2. Jimboom

      Re: Nothing new, then

      At least a spoilt 10 year old bully there might still be hope for redemption.

      A 73 year old imbecile with dementia would be more accurate.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Nothing new, then

      Donald Trump simply cannot abide being told what he must or must not do.

      He's like a four-year-old who never grew up.

    4. Vincent Ballard
      Coat

      Re: Nothing new, then

      White House lawyers to write the appeal?

  3. Kev99

    What an egotistical, myoptic, self-centered lame brain. This is a country you're "running" (and I use the term VERY loosely) not one of your bankrupt companies or flop houses.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      "ruining"

      There, FTFY.

    2. TheMeerkat

      Trump haters seem to be void of any logic or coherent thought.

      This is what hatred does to people.

      If any other politician can block people from their accounts, why not Trump?

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        @TheMeerkat - If you read the article, no they can't. Other courts have consistently ruled that they can't.

        1. Cederic Bronze badge

          Can you cite any? There's a case ongoing against Ocasio-Cortez and the team running Tlaib's twitter account responded to a direct request that cited court precedent but didn't go to court, but I haven't found any completed cases in court.

          Obviously that's mainly because I'm not sure what to look for :)

      2. el kabong Silver badge

        You mean Trump's haters, right?

        Trump's troupe of very vocal haters devoid of any logic or coherent thought.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >If any other politician can block people from their accounts, why not Trump?

        Because he is using it to announce government policy.

        Suppose he has another twitter feed that announces tariff increases, tax cuts, new bans on certain companies etc. a few days in advance - but this one is private, run by Trump and available for a mere $M donation.

        He has already announced government economic statistics on his twitter ahead of official releases, so investors that follow his twitter feed have a theoretical advantage over any that don't (although possibly face higher mental health medical costs)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          give him a choice: he can be treated as a private citizen, allowed to do whatever he wishes with his Twitter and not allowed to claim presidential immunity for anything, or he can be treated as President, and just like every other president to date, his statements are treated as statements from the holder of that office.

          He's not special - or he's definitely "special" .....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            He doesn't need to be "given" that choice again- he already had it, and made it of his own free will when he chose to run for president. Unless he exercises the same choice and resigns- which he's perfectly free to do any time he likes, but obviously won't (#)- he's bound by the rules of the presidency.

            If the snowflake-in-chief doesn't like the consequences of the choice he made, wants to have his cake and eat it, and thinks that the rules shouldn't apply to him, well... tough shit.

            (#) At least, not for that particular reason

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It would be interesting if the court ruled his account *was* personal - wouldn't that open him up to potential prosecutions for libel, inciting hatred, etc? Also, wouldn't announcing government policy before it was formally announced be tantamount to releasing confidential information?

            Being POTUS grants him immunity - perhaps the courts grant his request and then rule that his immunity doesn't extend to his personal account.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The White House kept saying his tweets on his personal account were official communications.

              That does mean though, doesn't it, that when he deletes a tweet he's in violation of federal record-keeping laws.

              Also, please note, that he's definately in violation of tweeter's TOS.

              1. Martin-73 Silver badge

                Indeed, they should suspend his account, the tantrum would be awesome to NOT see

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "He has already announced government economic statistics on his twitter ahead of official releases"

          No, he often makes announcements with statistics that bear little relation to official figures. Just last week he announced that 'the strongest dollar in history'... but the dollar index peak occurred in the 1980s. He regularly announces big expansion in steel industries and the like but when the numbers get scaled back to reality (for 'millions' read 'thousands') they are generally something that was planned years previously (much like Boris and the Boris Bike scheme... planned under Red Ken)

      4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Trollface

        Void of logical or coherent thought, eh?

        Hmmm.

        (I know...we're not to respond to trolls)

        1. Unlike all previous holders of the office, he appears to be using it to enrich himself, by channelling business to resort properties he owns (e.g.: "Next G7 should be at my Florida golf resort")

        2. His refugee policy seems to be calculated evil.

        3. His "tax cuts" benefit primarily people like him.

        4. His trade policy seems...disorganized and random

        5. He doesn't seem to be able to find, or keep, good help.

        6. And when he does, he doesn't listen to their advice.

        Good enough for you?

        1. el kabong Silver badge
          Devil

          7. He still looks like an ugly cheater

          Look at that hair, it looks like it just came out of a golden shower. Look at that face... oh, better not!

          I think we can all agree that despite all the stealing trump is not having it his way, some say that God works in very mysterious ways but I prefer to call it the karma effect.

          You cant' cheat karma, not even the master cheater can.

        2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Issue

          "1. Unlike all previous holders of the office, he appears to be using it to enrich himself"

          I think the issue is that he's doing to enrich himself while in office.

          Pretty sure most of the Presidents were subsequently enriched by their service to their country.

          CIA intelligence briefings for life is worth quite a lot by itself.

          1. edris90

            Re: Issue

            That's ridiculous. That would be like guarantee an admin access to your corporate Network 4life after they no longer work at your company an administrative position anymore.

            What a security nightmare.

      5. EnviableOne Bronze badge

        @therealDonaldTrump is "run by official White House personnel."

        therefore it is paid for by the people and is a public forum.

        therefore trump has no case.

  4. Someone Else Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Somebody call a Waaah-mbulance

    The president’s legal argument is inconsistent, illogical, clearly flawed and basically amounts to shouting “but I don’t want to be told what to do.”

    And that one sentence accurately and succinctly sums up our current Crybaby-in-Chief.

    Icon because, well..you know....

  5. chuckufarley

    Control is not Ownership

    Trump controls the account but Twitter owns it. Just like I control my email address at gmail.com but Google owns it. If Trump wanted to dispute that he would need to win a war against every service provider on the Internet.

    1. TheMeerkat

      Re: Control is not Ownership

      Would not one expect the provider having a monopoly position to not be so obviously partisan?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Control is not Ownership

        FWIW it was the court that insisted that the block be lifted.

        If Trump would limit his use of the service to entirely personal interest (say gardening or gold tips) then he might possibly have a case. But even then not really because Twitter is a public forum.

        As for partisanship: this has been Trump's successful modus operandi but it cuts both ways.

        Currently for every one of his supporters who think his claims are valid, there are two who think he's a paranoid bullshitter.

        1. jmch Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Control is not Ownership

          "Currently for every one of his supporters who think his claims are valid, there are two who think he's a paranoid bullshitter."

          would that that were the case.... That ratio is much closer to 1:1

      2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: Control is not Ownership

        "Would not one expect the provider having a monopoly position to not be so obviously partisan?"

        by "obviously partisan", do you mean letting Trump get away with comments that would get anyone else perma-banned from the service?

  6. Disk0
    Flame

    Let him have it!

    But no POTUS speech privileges - he'd need to abide by the same terms and conditions as the citizenry he so fervently claims to be a part of all of a sudden. I haven't read the T&C of the Tweetverse at length but from what I've read generally stuff like inciting violence, blatant racism, and purposeful misinformation with the intent to harm entire populations might gives cause to take restrictive action on offending accounts. If nothing else, they could suspend the whole thing indefinitely for "suspicious acticity" "Failure to monetize" "Flagged as troll, bot or spam account" "Reported as a landing page for botfarmers." "Tweeting too much without following enough people" or the old "Please reset your password for security reasons and set up two factor authentication." loop. If he complains, the response is simply: you wanted this. Yes, /should/, but wouldn't it be fun to see his reaction when he gets the book dropped on him?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Let him have it!

      There's been some news reports on this about Twitter's policies and how they are applied. Seems POTUS gets "special" privileges because he's the POTUS. Which comes down to "one rule for them, one rule for us".

      Disclaimer: I'm not a Twitter user.

      1. Jedit
        Stop

        "Seems POTUS gets "special" privileges because he's the POTUS"

        No, he gets special privileges because he's a racist bigot. Twitter Jack is at the very least an enabler of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and Twitter reflects that by applying one rule for the left and one for the right.

        1. Cederic Bronze badge

          Re: "Seems POTUS gets "special" privileges because he's the POTUS"

          I can find many people that would agree with you that Twitter apply one for the left and one for the right.

          What I can't find is any consensus on which rule goes which way.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @Mark85 -- Re: Let him have it!

        Want to give you 2 thumbs up: 1 for the content, and a second for your disclaimer.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Let him have it!

      No need to ban him, just black-hole his whole account, and use a few bots to give the impression that people are still replying to him.

      That'll keep him happily occupied, and prevent him from bothering everyone else.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Let him have it!

        Even he's not stupid enough to not notice that his 5am tweets were no longer being announced on Fox News every morning by the time he sits up in bed to eat his breakfast hamburger.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Let him have it!

          Make his own personal version of Fox news. You'd probably just need to overdub the audio with "...and President in Chief Trump has made another fantastic move with his tariffs on China. He's really making America great again!", and swap in whatever he's ranting about today. No fuss.

  7. Free treacle

    So there's an election on the horizon and Donald wants another safe space for supporters to echo his praises. Can't have any dissenters sowing doubt or quoting the POTUS contradicting himself; better make it invitation only.

  8. silent_count

    You can't have it both ways...

    When the social media companies kick out nazis or commentators they don't like, they're not violating anyone's right to free speech because it's a privately owned platform.

    When Twitter, on behalf of President Trump, wants to exclude people from a part of their platform, namely the comments on his account, it's a free speech problem because Twitter it's not a privately owned platform?

    I realise it's a little more nuanced than I've stated it but there does seem like a contradiction at play.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: You can't have it both ways...

      The 1st Amendment expressly prohibits the suppression of free speech by the government.

      Can you guess what the President of the United States is a part of? Go on! Take a wild guess!

      There is no nuance here. It's as straightforward as it gets.

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: You can't have it both ways...

        The 1st Amendment expressly prohibits the suppression of free speech by the government.

        Can you guess what the President of the United States is a part of? Go on! Take a wild guess!

        There is no nuance here. It's as straightforward as it gets.

        I can't tell if you're trying to be funny here or not. The way you've written it you seem to be suggesting that speech by someone in the government – e.g. the president – can't be suppressed. And you say there's no nuance there. lol.

        What the 1st Amendment actually says is: "Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;..."

        It really doesn't get any more straight forward than that, IMO. Twitter is not Congress; Twitter would be entirely within its rights to suppress Twitler.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: You can't have it both ways...

          The point is that Twitter can do what it wants EXCEPT repress speech at the request of the government. In this case, at the request of the President.

          Which the subject of this article.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: You can't have it both ways...

            The point is that Twitter can do what it wants EXCEPT repress speech at the request of the government. In this case, at the request of the President.

            Which the subject of this article.

            Er, no. Twitter could certainly repress publication at the request of the government, should it choose to do so. Freedom of the press applies to the owners of the press. If they want to cooperate with the government, they're free to do so.

            And the issue at hand here has nothing to do with suppressing any content publication by Twitter.

            The issue is that Trump wants to block some people from following and responding to his tweets. The courts have, thus far, ruled that Trump has no right to do that. Those rulings are based on the fact that he's POTUS and he uses his Twitter account in that role.

            If Twitter decided to comply with Trump's whims, they could go back to letting him block other users from reading and responding to his tweets. The court rulings say they're not obligated to do so.

      2. silent_count

        Re: You can't have it both ways...

        ecofeco wrote: "The 1st Amendment expressly prohibits the suppression of free speech by the government.

        Can you guess what the President of the United States is a part of? Go on! Take a wild guess!

        There is no nuance here. It's as straightforward as it gets."

        The first amendment you're referring to begins with, "Congress shall make no law..."

        The president != congress and neither he nor Twitter are making a law about what people are allowed to say.

        Let's say he gets his way and bans some people from posting on his twitter feed. Those same people are at their liberty to go out in the street and speak their mind, or post on facebook, or on TV, radio or even on their own twitter account.

        1. MJB7 Bronze badge

          Re: You can't have it both ways...

          The first amendment you're referring to begins with, "Congress shall make no law..."

          The president != congress and neither he nor Twitter are making a law about what people are allowed to say.

          However the Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment quite (very) broadly. As interpreted it forbids *all* branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial, at both federal and state level) from restricting free speech at all (whether by law, regulation, or other action).

          As such, POTUS (acting as POTUS) cannot request that Twitter forbid someone from speaking (or at least, that is how the courts so far have ruled).

          1. silent_count

            Re: You can't have it both ways...

            While I can't disagree with anything you've written, MJB7, I question the sanity of that line of reasoning. Theirs, by the way, not yours. Yours is clear and logical.

            I imagine the same judges which want to be all gung-ho on the first amendment when it comes to people posting vitriol on the President's twitter feed would have strong objections to allowing those same people to exercise their free speech rights by wandering into a courtroom and spouting similar nonsense.

            Maybe I'm wrong. I don't follow American politics that closely but what I suspect is that they've let their distaste for the President cloud their judgement, however well justified that distaste may be.

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: You can't have it both ways...

      It is not about twitter blocking people from their service, it is the account holder blocking people. Big distinction.

      1. Mongrel

        Re: You can't have it both ways...

        "It is not about twitter blocking people from their service, it is the account holder blocking people. Big distinction."

        And that account holder is using it as the de facto POTUS public communications channel.

      2. silent_count

        Re: You can't have it both ways...

        Joe W wrote: "It is not about twitter blocking people from their service, it is the account holder blocking people. Big distinction."

        Just to be clear. Unless I'm misunderstanding, it's not that anyone is blocking people from posting on their own account, just from posting on President Trump's. Nor is it President Trump doing the blocking. It is Twitter. It's their platform. Being a private company, they can change their platform so other people can't be blocked from anyone's feed, rendering this whole argument moot.

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Insanity

    UK had George III, France had Charles VI, now the US has Trump the First.

    1. Stuart Moore

      Re: Insanity

      Please please also Trump the last...

      1. Tim Hines

        Re: Insanity

        The Last Trump?

        It may well be...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Insanity

        Trump the last .. president?

        watch out what you wish for. It might become true.

  10. croc

    Doral to host next G7?

    Now we know the actual reason that Trump wants the G7 at his own property. He can pick and choose who he lets in at his own establishment, regardless of their standing. Macron, for instance, or Trudeau... Not to mention news organizations. And who gets camera time... Who ... the list of what could be controlled due to the owner's rights is endless.

    And the cherry on top is all the money Trump gets to make personally...

  11. warmndry

    Team Trump will keep appealing with the hope of getting the case heard in front of Trump appointed judges. Trump is well on his way to eliminating the rule of law in America.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      I think you underestimate our country.

      At least, I sincerely hope you do.

  12. Raedwald Bretwalda

    "the fact that the account is run by official White House personnel."

    Would that clinch it: something run by government staff is part of the government? If it is private (not governemnt) property and Trump and personally benefits from it, but government staff run it, is that corruption?

  13. Evil Scot

    Three Attempts

    Wow.

    Don(ald T) Quixote gave up after two failures in scotland.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Three Attempts

      He doesn't own two deciding votes on the Scottish High Court, so it makes sense not to go there and risk getting permanently shot down.

      Here, not so much.

  14. Rich 2

    Woooooaaaaahhhh

    A couple of points;-

    1/ What the hell is this argument doing going through the courts? As far as I know, Twitter is not a government agency and (for good or bad) it has it's own Ts and Cs and it can largely choose what conditions it wants to place on the (let's face it, free!) accounts. If it decides that @theRealFart is a being operated in the interests of a public body, who the hell are the court to decide that Twitter are "wrong" (whether they are or not)?

    2/ If @theRealFart IS a private Twitter account as Trumpy says, then considering how it is routinely used to broadcast the ramblings of someone in government office, then how does this square with the attacks that Trumpy made on Ms Clinton during the election (re her use of private email for government business)? And although I appreciate that Farty doesn't care and would just shout a lot until everyone plugs their ears, why are his opponents not making anything of this?

    Politics in the UK is completely f*cked-up and is likely to remain so for some time, but thankfully it's not quite as nuts as in good ol' America!

    1. MJB7 Bronze badge

      Re: Woooooaaaaahhhh

      Twitter can block people any time they like. The point is that the President cannot ask them to block people (and the courts can insist that any such requests are ignored).

      1. Rich 2

        Re: Woooooaaaaahhhh

        But why are the courts involved at all? If Farty says "Oi, Twitter, stop those peeps telling me I'm a complete spoon" and Twitter say "bugger off, we'll do no such thing", then how can the courts have any juristiction over whether Twitter are right or wrong to do that - it's entirely up to Twitter!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The examples are flawed

    Anyone can read what Trump wrote in his Twitter feed, they just cannot comment on them. What opponents want to do is not attend the "political rally" and listen, like everyone else. They want to attend the rally then loudly piss, moan, pitch a fit, throw things, and make a nuisance of themselves to keep everyone else from hearing what is being said. Then, of course, when they're removed from said metaphorical rally, publicly shit themselves claiming they were "censored", their First Amendment rights trampled by Trump and his storm troopers.

    Typical tactic of the progressive left.

    San Francisco knows this but continues vomiting the propaganda anyway, because, well, orange man bad. Bad orange man! Bad!

  16. edris90

    The account doesn't belong to him, as its existence is simply a configuration of Twitter's physical property. If you allow me to rearrange your socks and your bedroom in a square, do you own my socks in my bedroom, no. But you are allowed access subject to my whims. At Anytime you can tell you that you can't use my socks or the box you made out of my socks anymore because those are still my f****** socks.

    You never had to let me in your bedroom or use your socks in the first place. If Iyou wanted to tell you that you don't trust me specifically to do something or think it's a good idea , You can still let somebody else because once again it's my room andmy socks.

    Whoever owns the server makes the rules and is effective God of that server.

    There is no higher authority than that of the owner. Users essentially are guesta in someone else's house. If you don't like the rules roll your own server and post and block anything you want.

    Twitter's relationship is analogous.

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